SARF070: Development of a risk evaluation system for the establishment of Gyrodactilus salaris in Scottish river systems

Start Date: 01/03/2010
End Date: 31/08/2010
Main Contractor(s): University of Stirling
Other Sponsor(s):  


Building of database characterising rivers across Scotland (months 1-2).

Integration of environmental database into a GIS together with native gyrodactylid survey data (month 3).

Develop Scottish risk model by analysing gyrodactylid incidence with environmental parameters (month 4).

Compare Scottish risk model with that of England and Wales and produce a mainland Britain risk map for G. salaris (month 5).

Report writing and dissemination of results (month 6).


The UK currently remains free of this parasite and it is critical that its introduction is prevented, and that in any case, effective contingency plans are in place in order to preserve salmon stocks and protect the aquaculture industry should it be introduced. For this to be effective, identifying sites where G. salaris could establish is important both for monitoring purposes and contingency planning. A Defra funded project (FC1177) has developed a mapping system for England and Wales identifying sites which would be considered as having a high risk of G. salaris introduction and more importantly would allow successful establishment of the parasite. This has been achieved through the development of a database within a GIS (Geographic information system) which comprises physical and environmental parameters of English and Welsh river systems and mapped occurrence of indigenous salmonid gyrodactylid species to these variables. Once analysed, the results of this work have identified environmental risk factors for salmonid gyrodactylid species which correlate to the known biology and distribution of G. salaris in Norway. Based on environmental parameters, the project has identified putative sites with a low risk of G. salaris establishment together with areas which have a higher risk.

The proposed research outlined in this application is to further develop the risk mapping system for Scotland supporting national biosecurity plans with regard to this parasite and cross border continuity. This will allow sites with a high possibility of establishment to be identified, for the surveillance of high risk sites to be increased and supports national contingency planning with regard to G. salaris